Vodafone Idea Rolls Out Alternate Digital KYC Process Nationally; Jio Seeks Some More Time

Large telecom operators including Vodafone Idea Ltd and Bharti Airtel have begun rolling out an ‘alternate digital KYC process’ for new connections, which will replace the Aadhaar-based electronic verification process. Reliance Jio sources indicated that the operator has a plan on alternate digital KYC and will roll it out soon. However, it is not immediately clear if telecom service providers are, for now, continuing Aadhaar eKYC for verification of new subscribers.


In the wake of the recent Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar, the Telecom Department had, last week, issued detailed instructions to telcos on stopping the use of Aadhaar-based electronic-know your customer (e-KYC) and had asked them to report compliance by November 5. But operators, subsequently, approached the government requesting that they be allowed to continue with the Aadhaar-based eKYC process till November 20, while they implement the new digital process.

Sources in the Bharti Airtel told PTI that the alternate digital KYC process has begun in select circles including Delhi, UP (East) and UP (West) and will be extended to other locations in the coming days. The official who did not wish to be named said the new digital KYC process entails scanning of the proof of address and identity, embedding live customer photo and online customer acquisition form, and that the entire process will be digital.

The official further pointed out that the company will be phasing out the eKYC process, as the digital KYC system is rolled out to new locations, and stablises. An email sent to Bharti Airtel in this regard remained unanswered.

Vodafone Idea, in a statement, confirmed its new digital KYC process is live and is being rolled out nationally, and added that the DoT instructions allow for provisional roll out of digital KYC.

Reliance Jio did not respond to an e-mail query, but sources indicated that for alternate digital KYC process, the company has a plan in place and will start rolling it out soon.

Aadhaar issuing-body Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) could not be reached for comments. However, a person familiar with provisions of Aadhaar Act was of the view that it may be difficult for the UIDAI to immediately pull the plug on telecom-related authentications as Section 32(3) of the Act prohibits it from collecting or maintaining any information about the specific purpose of authentication.

The Supreme Court had in a landmark verdict in September restricted the use of Aadhaar by private entities in the absence of a legal provision. On October 26, the telecom department asked operators to stop using Aadhaar for electronic verification of existing mobile phone customers as well as for issuing new connections to comply with the SC order.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) in its October 26 circular had also taken note of the fact that the industry mooted an alternate process for KYC (know your customer) which entailed customer acquisition forms to be embedded with live photo of the subscriber and scanned images of proof of identity and proof of address- thereby digitising the end-to-end process for on-boarding of new mobile subscribers and making it paperless.

Accordingly, all telecom service providers were asked by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to ensure readiness of their systems and offer the proof of concept of the proposed digital process by November 5 for approval.

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8 Comments on "Vodafone Idea Rolls Out Alternate Digital KYC Process Nationally; Jio Seeks Some More Time"


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Rajnish | Agra
November 6, 2018 11:50 pm 11:50 PM

Does anyone have any idea what the new procedure is?
Will the CAF now be filled manually?

November 6, 2018 8:24 pm 8:24 PM

but new system is most efficient as it takes a photo of person on spot and uploads it, so if documents are stolen/forged, photo will not match.

if case is of taking sim on gunpoint, it can be done anyway.

November 6, 2018 11:26 am 11:26 AM

Aadhaar eKYC should continue, those who don’t want to get new connection using Aadhaar can do so using paper method of 18th century, let the others live in 21st century.

Vishal (Kolkata)
November 7, 2018 1:02 am 1:02 AM

Even I agree that Aadhar process was best. Actually problem lies with the Aadhar Act. The Act states that it is required for Govt subsidy. The honorable Apex court in its judgement has asked telecom operators to stop using Aadhar bcoz there is no subsidy in mobile connection. If the govt amends the act, it will be again possible to use it. I really dont know why a genuine person will have any problem with Aadhar. Only person having illegal and 2no work is having problem.

November 7, 2018 12:07 am 12:07 AM

@ chinmay…. Go file a review petition with the supreme Court if you feel strongly about using aadhaar for mobile connection (which most citizens don’t want to due to privacy and data leakage issue). One has to respect the law of the land whether or not if it’s to ones liking. Otherwise a nation will become banana republic!

There are several other digital KYC options, other than aadhaar, which are secure and quick as well, if one is not struck with or biased with one thing… Aadhaar is not the be all end all!

November 6, 2018 4:42 pm 4:42 PM

@chinmay @animesh Maybe you should go talk to the Supreme Court if you feel so strongly for that abhorrent Aadhar eKYC for telecom (which is now illegal)

Animesh Ashok Sengupta
November 6, 2018 1:55 pm 1:55 PM

Aadhaar eKYC is the best possible method for all identification including issue of mobile connections,It is the best method to weed out connections taken through stolen or forged documents which are particularly used by unscrupulous people including terrorist.

November 7, 2018 12:16 am 12:16 AM
Mr. Animesh Ashok Sengupta and Chinmay. Mr chinmay when you will touch 70 years of age and that time you will need to get a connection but unfortunately all your figerprints will be gone so at that what will you do ??? before commenting must know the new procedure for mobile activation then comment whether it is wrong or not DOT is not a fool.so know the procedure mr 21stcentury and Mr. Sengupta first one photograph will be clicked which will be live pic that means you have to blink your eyes as well as you have to look from… Read more »